Monthly Archives: August 2012

Hate

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This blog is supposed to be dedicated to creating a healthy mind, body, and spirit, but in light of the recent shootings in Aurora, Colorado, Oak Creek, Wisconsin, and last year’s shooting of former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, I feel compelled to speak about hate.  It is responsible for the slaughter of an untold number of innocent people around the world, past and present. With the recent shootings some would argue that the individuals responsible were crazy, but even in their mental illness, I believe hate was the catalyst that supplied the fuel.   Self-hatred may have propelled those individuals to commit such heinous crimes or was it something else?  Shakespeare said, “In time, we hate the things we fear.” And I’ve heard it said that we hate those who are not like us, and it is an innate part of us, that we have all acted upon at some point in our lives.  I don’t agree with that.  I believe we do have the capacity to hate, but we also have the same capacity to choose not to.  We have free will and the power to choose how we react to a particular person or situation.  Isn’t that why humans are considered above animals because of our intellect?  Don’t we know that in spite of our race, we all bleed red blood?

Hate is insidious because it doesn’t always show itself on the outside, but instead grows from within and is often revealed by a person’s actions.  Hate is also a learned behavior. Have you ever seen two toddlers of different races in a store or playground?  They stand and look at each other with such curiosity, and just when they finally make up in their little minds to communicate or reach out to  each other, some stupid adult comes along and snatches them away, teaching them that they shouldn’t like that child, because they are different.

Hate has caused the death of so many innocent people.  There is a laundry list of tragedies including slavery, lynchings, and other indignities suffered by African-Americans, particularly in the South, the gassing of millions of Jews, Poles, Gypsies, and others during the Holocaust, the genocides that occurred in Bosnia, Rwanda, and Darfur, and in more recent times, 911,  school shootings such as Columbine High, Virginia Tech, and Northern Illinois, and the shooting massacre in Norway last year.

Hate kills dreams. Hate eats you up inside like cancer; it will chew you up and spit you out.  Don’t be fooled, you think you can control it, but it! always winds up controlling you. It changes you, and not for the better! Hate turns beauty into ugliness, and gives you wrinkles! Hate stops you from moving forward because it keeps you firmly cemented in the past. You cannot make rational decisions and see things clearly, when you are blinded by hatred. It keeps you ignorant.

With the upcoming presidential election in November, Americans have the opportunity to vote based on the issues or vote based on  hatred.  Are you going to vote based on a man’s race or what he stands for? Are you going to factor in his accomplishments  and willingness to create  and pass legislation that will benefit all and not just a chosen few? Or are you just going to make it based on the rhetoric of certain media, groups, and political parties who don’t have a plan, but instead incite hatred through the media and carefully crafted speeches , but yet provide no solutions to the issues our country is facing.  Support who you want, but let it be for a valid reason, not based on emotions or hate.

Okay, okay, I’m stepping down from my soapbox, but let me leave you with this, Confucius said, “ It is easy to hate and it is difficult to love. This is how the whole scheme of things works. All good things are difficult to achieve; and bad things are very easy to get.”  We are better than what we have witnessed in recent times.  When 911 occurred, the country pulled together and we can do it again, and show the world what we really stand for.  If you must hate, then hate ignorance, prejudice, inequality, war, poverty, suffering, sexism, and all things that bring out the worst in us.

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My Personal Protector

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Today there was a powerful but brief  storm  in Chicago.  There is a certain symmetry and beauty to a storm, and I couldn’t help but take a brief peek out the window and that was when I saw a huge limb fall near my car.  I can’t explain it, but I knew it was going to fall and I also knew there was nothing I could do if it did.  I have a convertible and braced myself but the tree didn’t fall on top of my car but fell a few inches away and surrounded Scarlett (my red Mustang).  I already knew there was Higher Power who I call the Creator, but that incident only solidified my belief.  It is a comfort to know that Someone has my back and is watching over me.  Some might say,  it was luck,  an act of nature,  or even an act of God.  Maybe I did something wrong and was being punished?  I don’t believe that.  I choose to believe that the Creator was looking out for me and I feel blessed and am very grateful.

Whatever your belief or faith is, I hope you believe in a power greater than yourself.  I am a follower of Jesus Christ and He said if you have the faith of a mustard seed, you can move mountains, and He also talks about worrying and faith.  He said if God protects and feeds the birds and even the grass, how much more will the Creator protect us?  When  people let you down, when the world lets you down,  and when it seems like the very forces of nature are out to get you, go inward and seek the Spirit that is within you, and you will see what I saw and experience what I experienced today,  divine intervention and the power of something greater than ourselves.

Sometimes it’s the Little Things that Matter Most

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My next post was going to be about hate, but this morning on the train I had an epiphany; sometimes it the little things that matter most.  I learned that from my mother yesterday.  She’s 86 years young and has been a great sage all of my life.  She  retired about 25 years ago and always talked about going back to her former job to see what it looked like and to see if any of her old co-workers  were still around. So we went there yesterday.  She was so excited and I could see the joy on her face as we rode the Red Line train and the bus to the North side of Chicago. She looked at everything with the eyes of a child, with wonder and excitement, as if she was seeing everything for the first time. My parents moved  to Chicago from Arkansas in the 1940’s during the second Great Migration. Even her voice was animated and she talked all the way from the South side to the North side about everything, current events, people on the train, places she used to go and the things she used to do.  She talked about arriving at the 12th Street Station on Roosevelt Road  (which is no longer there) on the City of New Orleans train, as a young woman in her early 20’s with a husband and two kids, in search of a better life, and never knowing she was a part of history.  All I could think about was how courageous my parents were to leave the Deep South and travel north, with nothing more than two suitcases and a bunch of hopes and dreams.

My mother loves to sightsee.  She can sit and look at people and things all day and never get bored.  Although shy, she really is a people person at heart, and she  just loved being out among them yesterday. There was something about that simple outing that just seemed kind of magical, and I know whenever  I think of her in the future,  I will remember how happy she was and I was glad to play a small part in it. I also learned  from her that as you get older, memories mean a lot. I guess, because as you age, they start to fade, and it may also feel like your whole life is starting to fade, and you straggle to hold on to whatever fragments you can.  Memories, especially good ones are worth more than gold, they are treasures that you try to store away in your heart and mind for later use. Let the bad ones fade but store the good ones, no matter how small, and when you grow older, you can withdraw some like my mother did yesterday.